Let’s do a quick game of word association to kick this one off, shall we? When I say “Joy Reid,” what’s the first thing that pops into your head? Stumped? [heavy sarc] Perhaps these headlines will help:
Arguably, not since the heydays of race-hustlers Jesse Jackson Jr. and Al Sharpton has anyone (perhaps a bit hyperbolic, but it underscores the point) done a better job of purposely spinning anything even remotely related to race into charges of “systemic racism,” “white supremacy,” or worse.
Until MSNBC contributor Brittany Packnett Cunningham dropped by “The ReidOut” on Thursday to weigh in on a proposed, Missouri self-defense bill referred to as “The Castle Doctrine,” that is.
As reported by the Washington Post, the proposed legislation would alter Missouri’s self-defense laws and establish that any use of “physical or deadly force” would be presumed to be self-defense.
While proponents argue that the bill shields citizens who exercise their Second Amendment rights and protect them from unfair prosecution, opponents warn that it could result in unintended consequences and hinder law enforcement’s ability to prosecute violent criminals.
Then there’s Brittany Cunningham’s take. With a strong assist from Reid, of course.
Reid kicked off the festivities with a reference to Missourian Mark McCloskey who, along with his wife Patricia, made national headlines in June 2020 when they confronted a group of Black Lives Matter protesters who entered their gated community en route to demonstrate in front of the nearby home of a former St. Louis mayor. The McCloskeys are proponents of the “Castle Doctrine” bill.
Here’s how Reid set the table for Cunningham, as transcribed from the below video:
As expected, Mark McCloskey, who’s running for the open Missouri Senate seat, praised the bill — because it means that he essentially and his wife could’ve been in their slippers and shoot every single Black Lives Matter person that walked by. Legally — and they would not even be detained.
A complete crock of crap. No matter. She continued:
I want to go to you first on this, Brittany. As someone who has been out there in the streets, protesting, taking that risk for yourself. What would this kind of a law mean to people who actually just want to march for justice?
Here’s Cunningham’s response:
Joy, I’m so glad you reminded us that the McCloskeys were front row and center to testify on behalf of passing this bill. This was of course the couple that was made famous by … pulling their guns out on unarmed Black protesters.
But of course, to people like the McCloskeys, black skin is weapon enough.
This is exactly what this bill is designed to do. It’s to legitimize seeing blackness as a weapon in and of itself and justify our murders. It is meant to terrorize us and frighten us away from ever using our voices.
How does one — a sane one —even respond to nonsense like that?
Aside from the lunacy, the hypocrisy is breathtakingly off the charts. How does the left respond to Black conservatives like Larry Elder, Clarence Thomas, Thomas Sowell, Candace Owens, and others, using their voices? What names are they called? What lies are told about them? These are legit questions.
Cunningham then got even crazier, by first attempting to frame her comments in “proper historical context.” (Emphasis, mine.)
I also want to set the proper historical context, because back in the day, by 1950, Missouri had the second-highest number of lynchings outside of the deep south.
So when folks talk about making America great again, that’s the kind of Missouri, grand old tradition that they want to return to. They want to return to days when you could lynch or murder black folks and there would be absolutely no retribution for it.
That’s not hyperbole. I’m telling you as a Black Missourian and a protestor, that is reality.
Oh, hell no. That’s not even close to hyperbole. No way. Not to mention, the shot at Donald Trump and the evil MAGA crowd was deftly played, don’t you think?
MSNBC contributor @MsPackyetti on Missouri's “Castle Doctrine” bill: “When folks talk about making America great again … they want to return to the days when you could lynch or murder black folks and there would be absolutely no retribution for it. That’s not hyperbole." pic.twitter.com/wGj7l3BkXp— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) February 4, 2022
The bottom line:
As is the case with any serious issue, reducing oneself to a ridiculous, divisive narrative affords zero chance of creating serious, legitimate dialogue. On the contrary, it further hardens opposition.
Do policing issues exist, to various degrees, in some areas? Of course. On the other hand, were weeks and months of BLM riots, burning buildings, and destroying small businesses —and many of the lives dependent on those businesses — “peaceful protests”? Of course not. Should Missouri’s proposed “Castle Doctrine” legislation be openly and honestly debated before passage? Sure, as should all legislation.
But unfortunately, Joy Reid and Brittany Packnett Cunningham — and others who believe as they believe — claiming the purpose of the “right to defense” bill is to return to days when you could lynch or murder black folks and there would be absolutely no retribution for it does far more harm than good to their argument(s), whatever they might be.
Then again, what if that cause is simply to continue to divide America along racial lines?